MACE. - Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing

Album Review of Mace. Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing on angoisse

Original Artwork by David M. Romero

Mace. takes us on a fascinating and striking sonic journey into the bowels of our unknowable global economy.


Enrico Cesaro a.k.a. Mace. is a name that might ring a bell for a good bunch of the Secret Thirteen community. After all, we have already had the honour to enjoy his superb mix a while ago. The Italian producer and sound sculptor based in Padua has been active since 2013, over which time he has collaborated with multiple labels, including Further Records, Lux Rec, Veleno Viola or Eclipsemusic. Now it is angoisse’s turn. In its ongoing quest for new sounds and tendencies, this Barcelonian label has bet hard on Mace.’s latest work, Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing, which was released both on tape and digital on September 20. Also, following this release Enrico, together with the head of angoisse, David M. Romero, will present a collaborative visual artwork in Osaka after the soon-to-be-announced Japan tour.

Recorded between Berlin and Padua, Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing shows a clear stylistic departure from his previous works. Whereas Splendore Finanziario (Veleno Viola, 2015) had a electropunk flavour and Four Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today (Lux Rec, 2016) offered a more industrial techno approach, binding this particular tape to a single genre is not a simple task. From the compositional perspective, this concept album focuses, in Mace.’s own words, “on the emotional perception of the present and future of the world economy”. To create this atmosphere, he has conceived skillful, disconnected rhythms, undecipherable cut up vocals and a continuous feeling of mutation. All the tracks are marked by constant changes, breaks, wisely-used silences and unexpected effects. These ever-evolving structures give a certain feeling of unpredictability, which is a perfect representation of our collective economic and political predicament. In fact, that difficulty or even impossibility to foresee what’s next in each of the tracks creates a hysterically mixed sensation of unrest and euphoria.

On the other hand, the sonic experience Mace. builds is amazingly synthetic. Breakbeats, glitchy effects or electro basslines found, for instance, in Fragments of the Machine or Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing, provide a profound sense of artificiality. It is true that vocals are present in most of the tracks, however, the way in which they have been reworked and used can also be construed as playing with the idea of detachment and inhumanity - the sound is sometimes unintelligible, sometimes cut, stuttering or merely ornamental. The track structures sometimes feel out of control, functioning in compliance with some unknowable logic.

All in all, Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing represents a tour de force in Mace.’s career. Enrico’s keenness on using the dystopian monster that is our economy as the main pillar to build his compositional approach on, has proved effective and unrestrictedly creative. This hectic and synthetic sonic journey shall plant a seed of emotional distress on potential listeners, but at the same time its eclecticity, unpredictable structural mutations and intensity make this a surprising, fresh and exciting release. Here is the exceptional Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing. Exclusive on Secret Thirteen.

MACE. - Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing

1. Mace. - Intro
2. Mace. - Life, Intelligence, Joy, Breathing.
3. Mace. - Insolvency As A Right (Breathing)
4. Mace. - 61.236
5. Mace. - Fragments Of The Machine
6. Mace. - Outro

About Author

Armando Valdés, the man behind Secret Thirteen album reviews, is a translator, music journalist and a member of noise-ambient + spoken word band “Granny On Donkey”.

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